Exactly What is Polio &
Flaccid Myelitis disease?
A good date to research Polio and learn about ways to Stop Polio and Polio-Like Acute Flaccid Myelitis is to start today
"Polio" (medical name is "PolioMyelitis"), is a very serious disease started by a viral infection which impacts the human body central nervous system. Polio is typically (but not always) spread from person-to-person type of close contact. Polio can also be spread from consuming under-cooked or raw foods which were once contaminated with the feces of a person who suffers from Polio.
Flaccid Myelitis is a polio-like disease easily confused and similar to Polio however it is not Polio.
Symptoms: Most people will have sudden onset of arm or leg weakness and a loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Some people will have facial drooping, weakness, difficulty moving eyes, dfficulty swallowing or slurred speech.
Flaccid Myelitis Diagnosis: AFM is not easy to diagnose. Diagnosis may start with a nervous system exam and pictures of spinal cord, and exams of places where there's weakness, poor muscle tone and slow reflex. MRIs can be done on brain and spinal cord and lab tests on cerebro-spinal fluid. It's important testing gets done as soon as possible after symptoms.
Possible Causes: Viruses and environmental toxins, i.e. polio-virus and non-polio entero-viruses, West Nile virus and viruses in the same family as West Nile such as Japanese encephalitis and St Louis encephalitis and adeno-viruses. Often Flaccid Myelitis cause is unknown.
Treatment: There's no well established treatment but doctors specializing in brain and spinal illnesses can make recommendations. A neurologist can suggest physical or occupational therapy to help with leg or arm weakness. Long-term prognosis has not been studied.
Prevention: Polio Virus and West Nile virus sometimes lead to Flaccid Myelitis. Protect your family from polio-virus with vaccinations but doesn't protect against other viruses. You can protect against mosquitoe bites which may carry West-Nile virus using mosquito spray, staying indoors at dusk and dawn and avoiding stagnant water near your home. Washing your hands often is a great way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs in general.
Polio patients usually do not feel or act sick or even display symptoms of polio, like nausea, fever, headaches, a general tired feeling, sore throat, nasal congestion, an unexplained cough, pain in arms or legs or stiff feelings in back or neck. Most polio victims fortunately end-up making a full recovery. However, in rare cases of polio, the disease can result in a more or less permanent reduction of muscle use in legs and arms.
Quite alarmingly is in the event there are muscle losses caused by polio which also involve the muscles used for breathing, it can result in a chronic brain infection. That condition can and sometimes does result in death attributable to side-effects of a case of severe polio.
Polio Vaccine Suggestions and Requirements
If you are traveling to one of the nations which experienced a polio-virus breakout in the past 12-months, with polio conditions lasting longer then 4-weeks, a polio vaccine evidence may be required. Recent polio health issue countries (in no particular order) are Israel, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cameroon, Guinea, Iraq, Somailia, Syria and Pakistan (this list may change).
If you receive the polio vaccine before travel to polio problem nations you should carry the yellow Certificate of Vaccination Card with you to certify you had a polio shot.
During the 1940's and 1950's, polio crippled at least 40,000 people yearly in the USA and Canada, making polio a much feared and potentially deadly disease. By the year 1979 the USA became free of polio thanks to the polio vaccine and other recent good-health related activities.
Unfortunately, the polio-virus remains in several nations of Asia and Africa, especially Pakistan and Nigeria but at least major progress has been made recently in other nations but is still a serious health issue what with the ongoing incidents of polio being exported to nations who were earlier classifies as being polio-free. Seven or more other countries had cases of polio and a polio virus spread over a recent year. Until polio is eradicated everywhere internationally, polio-free countries are always at risk of a sudden polio outbreak, including the USA.
Who is at Risk of Getting Polio?
People travelling to some areas of Asia and Africa are at risk of getting polio. Travelers should always be current with their polio vaccinations. To provide even more polio protection a one-time adult polio vaccine booster shot is highly recommended for people travelling to polio-risk nations of the world.
Travelers should get a Polio Vaccine
- Ask your doctor or health care provider if you are current with your polio vaccines and if they recommend you get an adult polio booster shot before you travel. You still can take advantage of the polio-vaccine even if you had a children's polio shot or had polio in the past. A polio-booster vaccine offers significant extra protection against getting polio.
- Make sure children of all ages get a polio vaccine.
Remember, some Drinks and Food may have a Polio-Risk:
Follow safe water and food safety procedures to avoid polio exposure from food or drinks possibly contaminated with human feces of a person with a polio-virus infection.
Always have Good Cleanliness and Personal Hygiene:
- Wash your hands often, especially after hand-shaking and touching things like door handles, tables, menus, etc.
- If no soap and fresh water is available, clean you hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid hand contact with mouth, eyes and nose. Make certain hands are clean If you need to touch facial areas.
- Always cover your nose and mouth (not using hands) when sneezing or coughing.
- Try to avoid personal contact, like hugging, kissing and sharing food utensils or drinking cups with sick people.
If you Feel Ill and think there's a Possibility of Polio:
- Confer with your healthcare provider if you feel seriously ill, in particular if you have high-fever.
- Inform them if you travelled recently and where.
- Always strive to avoid personal contact with people while you travel and who seem sick.
- Do not serve or participate in any way with food preparation for consumption by others.
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